June 6, 2023


Automotive and technology



By Peter M. DeLorenzo

Detroit. Every time this small business would seem to be lulling itself into a cumbersome keeping pattern of ready for “The Grand Transition” (or is it Ready for Godot?) to EVs – with the mind-numbing cadence, predictability and decades this will entail – blundering controversy constantly appears to be by no means significantly absent. This 7 days, it is all those rumbling, bumbling and stumbling executives from Volkswagen AG who have appear to the front of the line, broadcasting their assumed balloons out loud significantly to the consternation of everyone, especially their prolonged-struggling U.S. sellers.

What have these preening – “we’re geniuses, just question us” – VW executives unleashed on their unsuspecting U.S. dealers this time? VW dropped the news – fully out of the blue, of program – that the corporation would produce a pickup and off-road-oriented SUV for the U.S. market place beneath the Scout identify, not VW, commencing in the 12 months 2026. 

There was really tiny compound to the announcement past that, which designed VW dealers insane and highly suspicious as to what VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, was truly up to. Was Diess aiming to reduce U.S. VW dealers out of the equation and provide instantly to buyers? That is a unique chance, as it is normally regarded that Diess is a enormous, unabashed supporter of St. Elon. And the fact that there had been generally no other aspects – as in zero – about the strategy forthcoming really a lot confirmed those suspicions. No plant facts, no initial advertising and marketing tactic, no nothin’. Just, “Ya, we’re gonna have them in-marketplace by 2026.”

Do the U.S. VW dealers have good explanation to be suspicious? Certainly. The German-centered VW executives have a very long history of abusing U.S. sellers. The abuses consist of: 1. Failing to obtain even a modicum of knowledge of the U.S. marketplace, enable on your own treatment. 2. Dim-bulb marketing and advertising and strategic decisions primarily based on these very same executives’ “gut feel” for what the U.S. marketplace necessary, rather than listening to direct feed-back from the persons who really understood the industry, aka the VW sellers. I could incorporate various additional points, like shoving unpronounceable (and nonsensical) names on VW cars bound for the U.S., based on the essential assumption created by all those exact same German VW executives that they knew what was greatest, and other than, the sellers would make it do the job in some way. And the Germans’ steadfast refusal to listen to their U.S. sellers about the will need for a more substantial, aggressive SUV for this market to the place that it was pretty much also late by the time the Atlas arrived on the scene. (The Atlas has proved to be a successful lifesaver for the model in this article.) 

You’re damn proper VW dealers in this article in the U.S. have just about every cause to be wary of Herbert Diess and his longing to be considered a futurist and an EV visionary when it arrives to cementing VW’s long run status in the “Grand Transition.” Diess’ delusional pondering is no serious surprise, possibly, looking at it has been a trademark of each German auto executive in excess of the previous 40 decades, at least (see Dieter Zetsche’s “Smart car” folly, for just a single obtrusive example). 

The coach of imagined for these German auto executives goes a thing like this: 

“I am a genius, and it will be much better for all of us if you just accept that fact.” (To be fair, this applies to specific infamous U.S. vehicle executives way too.)

“My gut thoughts are far far better and much more correct than any investigation, in-industry supplier enter or other reasoned suggestions, primarily from the denizens of our U.S. current market outposts.” (Ditto, see earlier mentioned.)

“Anyone who concerns my directives or orders will be exiled to an inconsequential place, never ever to be listened to from yet again.” 

But then once again, none of this is surprising to any German brand name supplier below in the U.S. It’s all the very same chorus irrespective of whether it’s Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. The horror tales from these dealers are eerily identical, and they all revolve about the simple fact that there has never ever been a a lot more depressing great deal of so-named “executives” who have carried out much less with extra than your regular German auto executive. Paraphrasing what Joe Pesci famously explained in On line casino“These guys could fuck-up a cup of espresso.”

I’ll give you a few of examples. Remember when BMW’s German executives adopted the simple phrase “Joy” for a worldwide redirect of its promoting? And then they proceeded to consider to shove it down the throats of its U.S. dealers? The exact same sellers who experienced been dwelling, breathing and nurturing “The Greatest Driving Machine” – one particular of the most legendary auto promotion themes of all time – for above 30 yrs? Certainly, BMW executives in Germany in fact tried out to get the U.S. dealers to adopt “Joy.” And pointless to say, it did not go perfectly. BMW’s German overlords backed down, and “Joy” was in no way listened to from or seen once again listed here in the U.S., and “The Final Driving Machine” life on.

And then there is Mercedes-Benz. M-B executives are the acknowledged Kings and Queens of doing less with far more. They have botched design launches, tried using to pawn-off fake Mercedes as serious Mercedes, attempted to persuade the American client that the Intelligent motor vehicle was actually truly worth contemplating, squandered many years of a as soon as-glorious brand history by unleashing countless advertising screwups, unloaded much too many products in this current market by creating niches upon niches that only served to confuse potential buyers, whilst conveniently disregarding the simple fact that their sellers weren’t inquiring for them. I could go on, but you get the thought.

That is why this newest Diess-led VW initiative has all the indications of nonetheless a different German car govt directive based on “We know what’s finest for you, even though you’re as well stupid to determine it out for yourselves” sort of a participate in. Except this initiative stinks to substantial heaven, and if I were a VW seller, I wouldn’t permit Diess and his minions get away with it. 

And that’s the Higher-Octane Fact for this 7 days.


The Scout renderings produced by VW past 7 days.


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